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KUCHING: Barisan Nasional (BN) elected representatives from Kapit Division have agreed in principle to the centralisation of rural schools with low enrolment provided certain criteria are fulfilled.
These elected representatives include Baleh assemblyman Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, Belaga assemblyman Datuk Liwan Lagang, Murum assemblyman Kennedy Chukpai Ugon, Pelagus assemblyman Wilson Nyabong Ijang, Bukit Goram assemblyman Jefferson Jamit Unyat as well as Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong.
All of them are elected representatives from Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) except Nanta and Jamit who are both from Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).
There are in total 46 low enrolment schools in Kapit Division.
Education officers from Kapit Division were also present during a discussion with the BN elected representatives on the issue today.
The meeting was chaired by Masing, who is also Deputy Chief Minister.
“I was chairing a meeting on the proposal of centralising rural primary schools with low enrolment.”
“We have agreed to let the Education Department decide on the location and how many primary schools to be put in one centralised site, provided certain criteria are fulfilled,” Masing who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister, told DayakDaily today.
He said one of the conditions set by the elected representatives was that the chosen centralised primary school must be well equipped with facilities before students were asked to move in.
The facilities should include boarding facilities, teachers’ quarters, classrooms, Internet facilities, properly equipped science laboratories as well water and electricity supply.
The second condition is that students from feeder schools should be free to choose which centralised school they wished to attend.
“The third condition is that once the students move out, the feeder schools must be closed. The Education Act 1996 must be amended to allow for this condition to take effect.
“And the last condition is that parents cannot object once the decision is made to move,” said Masing.
He also pointed out that all the elected representatives present also requested that, for a start, a pilot centralised primary school be identified in each constituency before the new policy is extended to all schools with low enrolment in Kapit Division.